Surf and Mesh Plots

Surf and mesh plots are utilized in the analysis and the visualization of 2D data in three dimensions (3D). The two functions create a 3D parametric surface for data that is included as 2D. The basic form of these functions is shown below.

Function (Z);

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This function can be in both surf and mesh plots. In this function, the magnitude of the value of the elements in the matrix Z at the respective x-y coordinates is represented by the height of the plot along the Z dimensions. In this case, the respective value marks on the X and Y axis are set by default settings of MATLAB. However, a plot in the desired range of X and Y axis lengths with scaling marks can be obtained by specifying the values of X and Y matrices.

The function also allows the controlling of the colormap property to display the 3D plot. “The height of the data in Z matrix is directly proportional to the colormap chosen and is represented by that color in the 3D plot.” The greatest value in the Z matrix is automatically mapped onto the first color in the colormap while the lowest value is mapped to the last color and the while values are linearly mapped. The two functions also support the representation of the contours under the 3D plots. A contour which “refers to a boundary around the regions sharing the same pixel intensities is drawn using the contour command in MATLAB.” [1].

Both surf and mesh plots serve the same purpose and can be used interchangeably on some kind of input. The main difference between the mesh and surf plot lies in the area that is filled with color. For the mesh plot, the wireframe is filled with color in what is referred to as faceted shading. Thus the mesh plot forms the wireframe representation of the parametric values of Z in which the area between the wireframe is empty [3]. While in the surf plot the regions between the wireframe are filled with color and not the wireframe. Thus a surf plot depicts a parametric representation of the data values in Z.

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